Derek Sivers nailed it in his recent blog post – the number 1 key to sucess is great customer service.
With great customer service we don´t need to be the cheapest or what so ever. This builds up a relationship and keeps customers. Derek Sivers founder of CD Baby asked lots of clients what they loved about his company:
“You pick up the phone! I can reach a real person.”
In his company he lived the philosophy of great customer service. Out of 85 emploeeys, 28 people were full-time customer service.
In my own projects I see how people appreciate getting you as a real person on the phone – a person that speaks for the company but helps you directly and personally. They like being kind and easy in communication instead of talking to an automated call-routing system or impersonal responses – as Sivers names it.
It´s more likely people will recommend you when they feel good talking to you. The face to the customers is always – also in my opinion – the most important part of the business.
I like his following thoughts:
#1: You can afford to be generous
The #1 most important mindset to start with, underlying everything, before engaging in communication with a customer or client, is that your business is secure.
Even if it’s not, you have to feel that it is. Money is coming your way. You are doing well. You are one of the lucky ones. Most are not so fortunate. You can afford to be generous.
All great service comes from this feeling of generosity and abundance.
Sometimes we need to run the extra-mile. The most illustrative example: Losing 10 cents on extra sauce can mean winning the loyalty of a customer who will spend $1000 with you over the next 10 years, and tell 20 friends that you´re awesome.
#2: The customer is more important than the company
We need to make sure that our customer´s happiness is our top priority – above our profitability. This – of course – can be seen critically but is also very important especially for startups and young companies. If we take care of the customer and satisfy (his/) a need, profits will follow.
#3: Customers Service is a profit center
Most companies put a lot of energy into sales – but less take care of post sales and the customer experience after the purchase.
Keep your existing customers thrilled is even more profitable.
Everybody knows the rule: It´s 5 times harder to get a new client than it is to get repeat business from an existing client … some even tell it with 10 times :-) But we get the message.
#4: Every interaction is your moment to shine
Three minutes spent talking with the customer is going to shape their impression of your company more than your name, price, design, website, or features all combined. This is your shining moment to be the best you can be, to blow them away with how cool it was to contact you.
This is what I pointed out earlier in this article. Be kind and easy. Most people are stressed or busy. When we can make the call pleasent we will be remembered.
When we are super kind people are more likely to be satisfied with the whole call-experience, to be more interest and openminded for new ideas, to even support us, and so on.
#5: Lose every fight
Customer service often starts when someone has a problem, and is upset.
But kind of like you need to feel secure for your business to be generous, you need to feel secure enough to lose every fight.
Whenever they’re upset, let them know that they were right, and the company was wrong. They win. You lose. And you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to make them happy again.
#6: Rebelliously right the wrongs of the world
This is an excellent piece. It´s about our “little passive-aggressive moves we all do” – It´s worth reading it in Derek´s article.